A Primer on INSLAW

This primer has been collated and provided as a courtesy by Brian Wright. (Thank you.)



Excerpt from:
NEWS RELEASE
August 11, 1992

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary

Jack Brooks, Texas, Chairman

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE REPORT CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE THE INSLAW CONTROVERSY


The ("INSLAW Affair") report concludes that there appears to be strong evidence, as indicated by the findings of two Federal court proceedings, as well as by the Committee investigation, that the Department of Justice "acted willfully and fraudulently," and "took, converted and stole," INSLAW's Enhanced PROMIS by "trickery, fraud and deceit." The report finds that these actions against INSLAW were implemented through the Project Manager from the beginning of the contract and under the direction of high-level Justice Department officials. The evidence presented in the report demonstrates that high-level Department officials deliberately ignored INSLAW's proprietary rights and misappropriated its PROMIS software for use at locations not covered under contract with the company. Justice then proceeded to challenge INSLAW's claims in court even though its own internal deliberations had concluded that these claims were valid and that the Department would most likely lose in court on this issue.

According to the report, the second phase of the Committee's investigation concentrated on the allegations that high-level officials at the Department of Justice conspired to drive INSLAW into insolvency and steal PROMIS. In this regard, the report states that several individuals testified under oath that INSLAW's PROMIS software was stolen and distributed internationally in order to provide financial gain to associates of Justice Department officials and to further intelligence and foreign policy objectives of the United States. Additional corroborating evidence was uncovered by the Committee which substantiated to varying degrees the information provided by these individuals.

(Chairman) Brooks stated, "Although (the Department of Justice was) faced with a growing body of evidence that serious wrongdoing had occurred which reached to the highest levels of the Department, both Attorney General Meese and Thornburgh ignored these findings of two Federal courts and refused to seek the appointment of an Independent Counsel."


Excerpt from:

"Summer Of the Octopus"

WASHINGTON POST
by Mary McGrory
August 18, 1991


(Danny Casolaro) had been investigating the Inslaw case, a tangled affair of government perfidy and international intrigue that has been in litigation since 1983. In his explorations, he found out about possibly related scandals -- BCCI, S&Ls, Iran-contra, the "October surprise" -- but until two weeks ago, he had found nothing about Inslaw. Then, he joyfully told friends, he hit bingo. One more interview and the case was cracked.

Suicides do not tell their intimates within days of taking the hemlock that they are "ecstatic" or "euphoric." Casolaro did. Nor do they attend family birthday parties, as Danny Casolaro was planning to do hours before he died. The last known call was to his mother in Fairfax (VA). He told her he was on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania. He would be late, but he was headed home. A manic-depressive might then kill himself. Nobody ever suggested Danny Casolaro was one.

Although the case involves the alleged theft of computer software by the Justice Department in the time of Ed Meese, Thornburgh took it to his bosom. Bill Hamilton, a perfectly nice midwesterner who owned a Washington firm called Inslaw, had invented Promis, a software especially adapted to crime statistics, which he sold to Justice. The second year, Justice stopped making payments. Hamilton and his wife, Nancy, believe that cronies of Meese were given the franchise to sell around the world. Promis has turned up in Canada and Pakistan. Thelink with the "October surprise" is Earl Brian, a former Reagan political associate who allegedly paid off Iranians to keep the hostages until after the 1980 election -- and allegedly was paid off himself with huge profits from Promis.


Excerpt from:

"The Inslaw Octopus"

by Richard L. Fricker
WIRED


But the real power of PROMIS, according to Hamilton, is that with a staggering 570,000 lines of computer code, PROMIS can integrate innumerable databases without requiring any reprogramming. In essence, PROMIS can turn blind data into information. And anyone in government will tell you that information, when wielded with finesse, begets power. Converted to use by intelligence agencies, as has been alleged in interviews by ex-CIA and Israeli Mossad agents, PROMIS can be a powerful tracking device capable of monitoring intelligence operations, agents and targets, instead of legal cases.

Apparently, Israel was not the only country interested in using PROMIS for internal security purposes, Lt. Col. Oliver North also may have been using the program. According to several intelligence community sources, PROMIS was in use at a 6,100 square-foot command center built on the sixth floor of the Justice Department. According to both a contractor who helped design the center and information disclosed during the Iran-contra hearings, Oliver North had a similar, but smaller, White House operations room that was connected by computer link to the DOJ's command center,

Using the computers in the command center, North tracked dissidents and potential troublemakers within the United States as part of a domestic emergency preparedness program, commissioned under Reagan's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to sources and published reports. Using PROMIS, sources point out, North could have drawn up lists of anyone ever arrested for a political protest, for example, or anyone who had ever refused to pay their taxes. Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon's enemies lists or Sen. Joe McCarthy's blacklist look downright crude. The operation was so sensitive that when Rep. Jack Brooks asked North about it during the Iran-contra hearings, the hearing was immediately suspended pending an executive (secret) conference. When the hearings were reconvened, the issue of North's FEMA dealings was dropped.

Freelance reporter Danny Casolaro spent the last few years of his life investigating a pattern which he called "The Octopus." According to Casolaro, Inslaw was only part of a greater story of how intelligence agencies, the Department of Justice and even the mob had subverted the government and its various functions for their own profit.


Excerpt from:

"The Dirtiest Bank of All"

by Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne
TIME
July 29, 1991


The more conventional departments of B.C.C.I. (Bank of Credit and Commerce International) handled such services as laundering money for the drug trade and helping dictators loot their national treasuries. The black network, which is still functioning, operates a lucrative arms-trade business and transports drugs and gold. According to investigators and participants in those operations, it often works with Western and Middle Eastern intelligence agencies. The strange and still murky ties between B.C.C.I. and the intelligence agencies of several countries are so pervasive that even the White House has become entangled. As TIME reported earlier this month, the National Security Council used B.C.C.I. to funnel money for the Iran-contra deals, and the CIA maintained accounts in B.C.C.I. for covert operations. Moreover, investigators have told TIME that the Defense Intelligence Agency has maintained a slush-fund account with B.C.C.I. apparently to pay for clandestine activities.

But the CIA may have used B.C.C.I. as more than an undercover banker: U.S. agents collaborated with the black network in several operations, according to a B.C.C.I. black-network "officer" who is now a secret U.S. government witness. Sources have told investigators that B.C.C.I. worked closely with Israel's spy agencies and other Western intelligence groups as well, especially in arms deals.



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